Critical Notes

Roundup: RIP Albert Murray and Elmore Leonard; William T. Vollmann, Unabomber Suspect; and More

By Mark Athitakis

Albert Murray, a recipient of the NBCC’s Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1996, died earlier this month at 97. The Oxford American published Walton Muyumba’s “The Blues Hero in the Spyglass Tree,” an appreciation of Albert Murray, shortly before Murray’s death. At Slate, Paul Devlin remembers his friendship with Murray.

Following Elmore Leonard’s death last week, Slate’s David Haglund explains why the crime writer’s much-maligned “rules for writers” are more flexible than they were credited to be. Laura Miller delivers an appreciation of Leonard’s work at Salon.

Three-time NBCC finalist William T. Vollmann reveals in the latest issue of Harper’s that he was suspected to be the Unabomber; Ron Charles explains.

Mythili Rao reviews Chinelo Okparanta’s debut story collection, Happiness, Like Water, for the Daily Beast.

Collette Bancroft reviews two new books about Jane Austen for the Tampa Bay Times.

David L. Ulin reviews Paul Yoon’s novel Snow Hunters for the Los Angeles Times.

Carmela Ciuraru reviews Tess Taylor’s poetry collection The Forage House for the San Francisco Chronicle.

At Ready Steady Book, Leora Skolkin-Smith considers Herta Muller’s The Hunger Angel as “an antidote to literary tiredness.”

Jane Ciabattari reviews Stephane Michaka’s novel Scissors, which imagines the working relationship between Gordon Lish and Raymond Carver, for NPR. She interviews Rick Bass about his new novel, All the Land to Hold Us, for the Daily Beast.

Rayyan Al-Shawaf reviews Amana Fontanella-Khan’s Pink Sari Revolution: A Tale of Women and Power in India at Truthdig.

Kit Reed is interviewed at the Los Angels Review of Books about her new novel, Son of Destruction.

Julia M. Klein reviews Carolyn Cooke’s story collection Amor and Psycho for the Boston Globe.

D.G. Myers reviews Suitable Accommodations, a collection of the letters of novelist and short story writer J.F. Powers edited by his daughter Katherine A. Powers, at the Daily Beast.

Balakian Excellence in Reviewing winner William Deresiewicz is this year’s recipient of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities.